We arrived at 0930 and met with Will Miller the Owner/Operator and currently the only ASA 114 certified instructor at Charleston Sailing School. After introductions along with some paperwork we were walking the docks to the Voyage 440. She was the beautiful boat we would be sailing and staying aboard for the weekend. The course is only two days of training, but Lisa and I paid for a bareboat charter for a third day. This way, we could get more practice in while it was still fresh in our minds.
Will showed us around the boat and we talked about the different systems on a catamaran. Most things are the same for monos and cats, just doubled. The difference is the way they drive. Since the catamaran has two widely separated engines, you can steer without the rudder at low speeds quite effectively. The shallower draft and high freeboard also means you are more affected by the wind. That afternoon we practiced maneuvering under power. We pulled away from the slip, motored around the marina, docked a few times and that was about it on the boat. A thunderstorm was rolling through Charleston that afternoon so Will suggested we make it an early day on the boat and get the written testing out of the way. The ASA 114 exam is a 50 question test that covers the material in Cruising Catamarans Made Easy. Lisa and I passed the exam and were on our way to being ASA 114 certified.
After our testing was complete we drove to Harris Teeter to provision for the weekend. It was our first time in a Harris Teeter, and it is quite the grocery store. We were going to grab some drive through on the way back to the boat, but decided to just get something there. They make sandwiches, like subway, they have a full salad bar, pizza, and other stuff ready to eat. We ended up getting a couple bags of groceries and some sushi, and a sub sandwich for dinner. After stuffing our bellies full of chow we readily stowed our weekend travel bags and started getting ready for bed.
The next morning was going to be an entire day of sailing, exactly what we were hoping for. There were just a few small rain showers, nothing that would even begin to stop die hard sailors like us. We departed the dock; practiced maneuvering the catamaran under power for a few minutes, and then it was time to hoist the sails. We tacked and jibed several times on our way over to Mount Pleasant. We tied up at the dock near Vickery's Bar and Grill for lunch. Will, Lisa, and I had some good grub consisting of a tuna melt and special made blackened fish sandwich and yes it was tasty too. We discussed sailing, our long term plans, and what we would be doing for the rest of the afternoon. After a filling meal we cast off the dock and motored over to an anchorage to practice setting the anchor and bridle. Since the hulls are far apart a bridle is used to keep the boat from "sailing" at anchor and to relieve the strain from the windlass. After a successful anchor drop we retrieved the "large fish hook", hoisted sails and started our way back to Charleston City Marina to dock for the night. The winds picked up to a brisk 15 kts. While en route we practiced man overboard drills. Honestly Lisa and I could have done better. It's been awhile since we've practiced and it showed. Eventually we were able to get the PFD back on board and navigate our way back to the marina. We tied up, and got our completion briefing from Will. We are officially ASA 114 certified sailors! Woohoo!!
To celebrate we decided to visit a little bit of downtown Charleston. We had a dinner at TBonz steakhouse and walked around the Charleston City Market, Customs House, and watched the sunset from Waterfront Park. It was a great ending to a beautiful day of sailing a catamaran around Charleston Harbor.
Check back next week for Part 2.